What We Are Reading Today: Republic Of Wrath

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Updated 13 September 2020

What We Are Reading Today: Republic Of Wrath

Author: James A. Morone

Political scientist James A. Morone surveys more than 200 years of partisan discord in this incisive and well-researched history.
Monroe “marshals a vast amount of information into a brisk, accessible narrative, and draws illuminating contrasts between past and present, spotlighting, for instance, stark differences between the politics of Democratic presidential candidates Harry Truman and Hillary Clinton,” said a review of The Republic Of Wrath in publishersweekly.com.
This “nuanced and richly detailed account offers essential perspective ahead of the 2020 election,” said the review.
Jia Lynn Yang said in a review for The New York Times that Morone’s “narrative gains some steam the closer it gets to the present, when the contours of our current political climate become clearer. He offers a useful reminder that the switch of Black Americans from the party of Lincoln to the Democrats was a shocking development — one he credits to Franklin Roosevelt’s expansive social policies, even if they were not always designed to be equitable.”
This history, Morone suggests, means that “we should not try to predict how political alliances may look in the future.”


What We Are Reading Today: The Riddle of the Rosetta

Updated 18 September 2020

What We Are Reading Today: The Riddle of the Rosetta

Authors: Jed Z. Buchwald and Diane Greco Josefowicz

 

In 1799, a French Army officer was rebuilding the defenses of a fort on the banks of the Nile when he discovered an ancient stele fragment bearing a decree inscribed in three different scripts. So begins one of the most familiar tales in Egyptology — that of the Rosetta Stone and the decipherment of Egyptian hieroglyphs. 

This book draws on fresh archival evidence to provide a major new account of how the English polymath Thomas Young and the French philologist Jean-François Champollion vied to be the first to solve the riddle of the Rosetta.

Jed Buchwald and Diane Greco Josefowicz bring to life a bygone age of intellectual adventure. Much more than a decoding exercise centered on a single artifact, the race to decipher the Rosetta Stone reflected broader disputes about language, historical evidence, biblical truth, and the value of classical learning. Buchwald and Josefowicz paint compelling portraits of Young and Champollion, two gifted intellects with altogether different motivations. Young disdained Egyptian culture and saw Egyptian writing as a means to greater knowledge about Greco-Roman antiquity. Champollion, swept up in the political chaos of Restoration France and fiercely opposed to the scholars aligned with throne and altar, admired ancient Egypt and was prepared to upend conventional wisdom to solve the mystery of the hieroglyphs.

Taking readers from the hushed lecture rooms of the Institut de France to the windswept monuments of the Valley of the Kings, The Riddle of the Rosetta reveals the untold story behind one of the nineteenth century’s most thrilling discoveries.